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cholesterol-lowering diet

Dieting to Lower Cholesterol

High cholesterol must be approached from different points of view. In the first place, you have to change habits that favor the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, that is, smoking, drinking alcohol, having problems of being overweight or obese and poor diet.

Many times these changes do not take place and the only solution to control cholesterol is taking medications. If the doctor recommends a drug it is very important to take it, even if you decide to also make a diet. With a cholesterol-lowering diet, you can manage to decrease the amount of medication that you need to take.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a controlled diet for 1 year before going to the drugs in case of hyperlipidemias, such as high cholesterol.

Foods with cholesterol

Cholesterol is found in foods of animal origin and they are usually high in saturated fat. In the table below you can see the main foods that have cholesterol and those that do not.





All vegetables.



Everybody. Potato, rice, pasta, bread … whether whole or refined.



All: beans, lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas …


All of the red meats, sausages, and viscera: beef, lamb, sausage, blood sausage, pâté, liver, tongue, brain …

The meats with the lowest amount of cholesterol are white without skin: chicken, rabbit, and turkey.


Fish viscera and fish roe.

Meat from white fish without heads or viscera (hake, sole, monkfish, sea bream …) and blue. (Tuna, emperor, mackerel, bonito, sardine, salmon …)


Mussels, clams, cockles, sea snails, ink of squid and squid, heads of prawns and shrimps.

Prawn and shrimp tail, cuttlefish and squid.


The yolk.

The egg-white.


Cream of milk, cream, whole and semi-skimmed milk, whole yogurts, and fatty cheeses.

Are low in cholesterol: low-fat cheese, and skim milk and yogurts.








Pork lard, butter.

Olive oil, sunflower oil, and seeds oil. Margarine.

Diet to reduce cholesterol

When cholesterol is high you have to take good care of food. First, if you are overweight you have to correct it. In addition, you must eat foods that promote the reduction of cholesterol in the blood.

The cholesterol-lowering diet should be rich in:

  • Fiber: because it decreases the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine.
  • Unsaturated fatty acids: increase HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Antioxidants: especially Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
  • Rich in fruits and vegetables: you have to consume 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.

Main features and practical tips:

  • Consume more fish than meat: red meat maximum 1 day a week, white meat 3 days a week, white fish minimum 4 days a week and blue fish 2 days a week.
  • Eliminate the fatty sausages: you can consume serrano ham, york ham and turkey ham in moderation.
  • Moderate egg consumption (4-6 eggs per week) to accommodate other food groups.
  • Remove pasta, buns, and cookies.
  • Reduce consumption of sugar and sugar products to the maximum.
  • Eat legumes and whole grains: vegetables at least 2 days a week and whole-grain products every day.
  • Avoid fried foods and fats from frying: consume preferably raw olive oil.
  • It is important to combine diet with daily physical activity, such as walking, climbing stairs, etc.

The role of the dietitian – nutritionist when cholesterol is high

The dietitian – nutritionist is the most appropriate health professional to carry out a diet to combat cholesterol. Many times cholesterol “does not come alone”, but is accompanied by weight problems and other diseases such as high blood pressure, high uric acid, diabetes, etc. For this reason, it is most advisable to make a personalized diet that takes into account everything the person needs.

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10 cholesterol myths

10 Common Myths About Cholesterol

Many false beliefs surround the subject of cholesterol, a determining condition in the risk of heart disease. Know the most common myths that can harm your health and learn what you should do to keep it at a healthy range [source], according to the advice of the American Heart Association (AHA).

1. If I do not have symptoms, I have it under

False. High cholesterol has no symptoms and for this reason, many people do not know that it has gone up. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check your cholesterol levels. The official National Cholesterol Education Program recommends that adults examine it every 5 years.

2. The doctor will tell me when to measure it

False. Your health is your responsibility. Ask your health professional how you should proceed to evaluate your cholesterol level and other risk factors, which should start from age 20 and up.

3. Thin people do not have it

False. A body type is not a synonym of high cholesterol, although overweight people tends to have hypercholesterolemia, thin ones may also have it. Generally, people who do not have weight problems worry less about the saturated fats and trans fats they eat, and so their cholesterol levels can be impacted.

So, should I take care of myself?
Yes. You cannot eat anything you want and stay healthy at heart. Have yourself check cholesterol regularly no matter your body type and lifestyle. People with high cholesterol have twice the risk of heart disease, a condition that affects 71 million people in the United States.

4. I must rely 100% on the labels

False. Foods nutrition labels are very useful, but you have to be careful. When choosing healthy foods for the heart, many claim that they are”low in cholesterol” but sometimes loaded in saturated fats and also in trans fats. Even those that are supposed to be “low in fat” may be high in fat.

5. Children do not have cholesterol

False. In some cases, children may also have high cholesterol, and if it does, they are at increased risk for heart disease when they are adults. Lack of regular physical activity, poor eating habits and genetics can affect a child’s cholesterol levels.

6. I am a woman: I am safe

False. Women may have some protection against high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol thanks to the female hormone estrogen, which tends to raise the level of HDL (good). But LDL tends to increase with age and in postmenopausal women.

7. I take medicine: I can eat everything

False. Medical treatment is prescribed for those who generally have high risks of heart disease and stroke. However, dieting and healthy lifestyle (not smoking and exercising) and also taking the prescription drug, are proactive steps against cardiovascular conditions

What to do?
To reduce or improve your cholesterol levels, you should consume heart-healthy foods and exercise regularly for about 30 minutes at least 3 times per week. And if you have been prescribed medication, make sure to take the prescribed dose so that cholesterol can fall more efficiently.

8. High cholesterol is always bad

False. There are two types: Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is called “bad” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol to the body. In contrast, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is called “good” cholesterol because, on the contrary, it is removed (removed) from the bloodstream.

9. I have to avoid fats

False. In reality, what you should do is replace the consumption of animal fats (which contribute to increase bad cholesterol) by vegetable fats. The AHA recommends the consumption of olive oil, but you can also add canola, corn, safflower, soy, grape seed, walnut, evening primrose and peanut without cholesterol.

10. If using light margarine, cholesterol will not rise

False. Both margarine (although soft) and butter are high in saturated fats, so both should be used sparingly. From a dietary point of view, the main factor that affects blood cholesterol is the amount of saturated fat trans fats found in the food you eat.

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nuts and seeds lower cholesterol

7 Ways to Lower Bad Cholesterol Without Medication

Cardiovascular diseases are the # 1 cause of death in the United States. About 2,300 people die each day from a heart condition. According to the American Heart Association, lowering blood cholesterol can reduce the risk. If your latest blood lipid tests turned out to be a bit high in cholesterol, you may be able to lower it through natural solutions before taking medications. According to researchers at the University of Toronto, more benefits can be obtained by combining some foods, comparable with low-dose statin drugs.

1- Nuts, seeds, and whole grains

They have an ingredient that inhibits the absorption of cholesterol from food. The American Heart Association suggests consuming at least 3 servings of the equivalent of 1 pound (28.35 grams) of whole grains per day.

2- Soy Protein

Cholesterol levels can be lowered by up to 10% if you consume 25 grams of this protein daily. This would be equivalent to two or three servings of foods like soy milk, soybeans, and tofu. On the contrary, foods such as liver, organic meat, egg yolk and regular dairy products should be avoided.

3- Fiber

Whole grains, beans, and vegetables are high in fiber and help reduce LDL cholesterol because they absorb saturated fat in the intestines. For more effective results consume oat bran, psyllium (also recommended for constipation) and barley: reduce LDL by 5% to 10%.

4- Increase fish consumption

At least twice a week, the Mayo Clinic recommends. Fish has very little amount of saturated fats and at the same time has a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce triglycerides, fat in the blood. It also decreases the risk of sudden death.

Fish with more omega-3 are the most “greasy” like salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, herring, and trout. Of course, for the fish to be healthy, you must choose carefully the method of cooking. It is convenient to prepare it in the oven or the grill, to avoid the addition of fats.

5- Change for olive oil

It is a potent combination of antioxidants and can help to coat LDL or bad cholesterol, without modifying HDL or good cholesterol. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is advisable to consume about 2 tablespoons of olive oil per day (23 grams).

6- Leave the cigarette

Smokers are at high risk of developing many chronic diseases, including atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke. In addition, tobacco reduces the level of HDL cholesterol and increases the tendency to form clots. Secondhand smoke also kills. Each year, 38,000 people die from an arterial or heart disease because they have snorted other people’s tobacco smoke. Just by being in the same environment as someone who smokes increase your risk of suffering heart disease between 25% and 30%.

7- Limit alcohol consumption

People who drink moderately (about one or two drinks per day for men and one for women) are less likely to have heart disease than non-drinkers. The American Heart Association does not recommend drinking in order to lower cholesterol or improve health. The benefits of this research on alcohol and cholesterol are not important enough to increase the risks of overconsumption. Excess alcohol increases the level of triglycerides in the blood (fats), among other things.
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